This is Terence Winch's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Terence Winch's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Terence Winch
Recent Activity
Thanks, Earle. Clearly and somewhat understandably, Dominic Behan was overshadowed by his brother Brendan. But there's no denying his significant contribution to Irish music. I sold most of my LPs years ago, but kept a few treasured discs, including Dominic's 1957 Riverside recording, Easter Monday, 1916: Songs of the I.R.A., which I memorized as a kid. But I didn't know of his four songs for Christie Moore's first album, so thanks for that information.
Thank you, Dr. Earle. I loved Luke Kelly's (and Ronnie Drew's) singing. I heard, and met, The Dubliners twice in Dublin in 1966, thanks to my Dub cousins, and I was thrilled to the core. They were idols of mine. Have fun in Amsterdam!
Let's not forget our friend John Ashbery, who loved his weed.
Dear DL---That's nice to hear, although it must be admitted that half the comments are usually from me, thanking the commenters for commenting.
Here is a different take on Borstal Boy from Terence Hegarty, songwriter, poet, and longtime friend of mine who grew up in Dublin: I can't agree about Borstal Boy. I reread it a few years ago, this time aloud because I wanted a loved one to appreciate how good it was, but both my listener and myself were getting restless long before I was finished. I came away feeling it's an important book because it manifests the English approach to reform school education, which at that time was probably the most enlightened in the world. (This was probably not Behan's intent.) As a bildungsroman it struck me as cliché-ridden and not too memorable. I found long passages quite dull. I will always love Behan for his two great plays. I am also fond of his novel The Scarperer (you will remember I read bits of that for your Behan program on WGRG in the early 70s). I will also always remember the occasions when I saw his wife dragging him home through the Dublin streets during my childhood years. These incidents, I think, helped me, at an early age, to understand that drunkenness and bad behavior are not necessarily markers of depravity (as my Catholic teachers told me); that such things can coexist with excellence; that his wife's courage in these public displays showed that human caring (let us say, love) overcomes everything.
Thank you, Mr. O'Keefe.
Thanks, Jerry.
Thank you, Ms. Campbell.
Go raibh maith agat, banríon na Gaeilge. I have learned a lot from you chomh maith.
I wish a local theater company would do a production of one of his plays. I remember seeing a play about Behan in New York in the late '60s---it amazed me how much the actor playing him looked and sounded like the man himself. Spooky. Can't remember the name of either the play or the actor.
DL: No, I don't know. Will you tell us? But I'm very happy you reminded me of Brendan's appearance in this great O'Hara poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWiB2bmDa4I
Thanks for catching that error. Mistakes were made!
Thanks, Noel. I have her book here, and read it long ago. She definitely had much to contend with.
I'm grateful to you for guiding me through the labyrinth of Glasnevin to Behan's grave & for taking that photo.
Thanks, Richie. I've never gotten around to Dead as Doornails, but always meant to. Maybe now I will.
I hope I didn't over-hype it for you, Cathy.
Thanks, Indran. Yes---Brendan & Dylan led parallel lives for sure. I sometimes have to think for a moment as to whether it was Beatrice Behan or Caitlin Thomas who wrote Leftover Life to Kill.
Thanks, Dan. You can find the LP on Ebay, I think.
Image
There’s a picture of Brendan Behan standing outside the Dublin Zoo with a bemused look on his face and a large snake curled around his neck. The photo reveals much about Brendan, who died 55 years ago today, on March 20, 1964, at the age of forty-one. He was a comedian who liked to shock people and who wasn’t afraid to take chances. He was an unstoppable ham who would do nearly anything to entertain his audience. His life, or legend, nearly overshadowed his work in its claim on public attention. His fans were sometimes more interested in the snake around his neck than in his writing. He was a man of many talents, with the charm and magnetism of a movie star. An accomplished singer who knew hundreds, maybe thousands, of songs, Brendan came from a musical background—his father played the fiddle, his uncle wrote the Irish National Anthem, his brother Dominic wrote “The Patriot Game,” one of the best-loved Irish songs to come out of Ireland’s struggles. Brendan himself composed many songs, some of which are part of his plays and one which he claimed was written with a threatening pistol at his head. He was fluent in the Irish language and wrote the first version of The Hostage (an Giall) as Gaeilge. He had lived in France, spoke good French, and claimed to have written pornography in Paris. He was precocious writer, turning out reasonably good verse as early as age nine. He first started drinking when he was a boy, so his two major activities in later life—drinking and writing—were off to an early start. As he grew older and more famous, his taste for “the gargle” took greater hold of him. In his late twenties and early thirties, when he was turning out the work on which his reputation would ultimately rest, he was capable of long periods of hard work without any intake of alcohol. But as he conquered the public with his brilliant memoir Borstal Boy and his two best plays, The Quare Fellow and The Hostage, he lost the stamina to keep on producing work of the same stature. His public demanded the famous tough-talking funny Irish writer, and Brendan hated to disappoint a ready audience. It wasn’t, of course, all the public’s fault. Brendan loved pub life, good times, music, talk. He was certainly aware of how he was ruining himself and his future as a writer, but that awareness was no match for his thirst. As a boy and young man he was a political extremist, having taken part in a 1939-40 IRA bombing campaign (one with numerous parallels to the later IRA bombings that were part of the Troubles in Northern Ireland) in Britain, where he was arrested in Liverpool at the age of sixteen and sentenced to three years in borstal (something like reform school). Although he had abandoned active participation in the IRA by the time he was an established writer, the same wild and rebellious spirit... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2019 at The Best American Poetry
36
Thanks for your comment. It's nice to know people are still reading this post.
Thanks for your comment. Nice to know people are still seeing this post.
Angelo---nice work!
Thanks, Michael. I too wish you had been there.
Image
Watch out, Mobile, Austin, San Diego, and any number of other cities in the U.S.: Maureen Owen and Barbara Henning are on the road and heading your way, armed with the power of poetry and good will. Transformations may take place, mirth may ensue, and who knows what else may happen. These two illustrious writers are an inspiration to septuagenarians everywhere. They have over-loaded a 2007 Civic (with “only” a 130K miles on it, says Barbara) with pots and pans, sleeping bags, bags of books, food, yoga paraphernalia, and suitcases filled with anvils, and headed out into the poetry-starved American landscape for an 8-week road trip/reading tour. I had the pleasure of reading with them on their second stop---Washington’s DC Arts Center---on Sunday (January 20, 2019), and of hanging out with them for the weekend. I asked each of them to read a poem, which they graciously did. (I apologize for the slightly distorted audio quality, but you will still get the idea.) Maureen and Barbara are publishing an on-going blog that documents their odyssey. And you can check their agenda to see if they’re coming soon to a spot near you. Here’s Maureen Owen reading “balmy tomorrow/saturday more snow predicted/the lilacs are in turmoil” from Poets on the Road: And Barbara Henning reading “Here We Are” from A Day Like Today: Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2019 at The Best American Poetry